In an everyday informal conversation it is common for sarcasm to be used. From studying two transcripts of relaxed conversations between similar aged teenagers, I can see that sarcasm has been used by all parties to the conversations. Using sarcasm when speaking to another person often establishes that what is being said is meant as a joke and that the opinion or statement that is made is not the actual considered opinion of the person.
There are multiple interesting linguistic features that can be picked out from George Galloway’s interview with Jeremy Paxman. A feature of spoken language that is used throughout the interview, mainly by Jeremy Paxman, is a sardonic tone. At times it feels like Paxman is mocking Galloway. ‘You’re not answering that one?’ Paxman says this after repeatedly forcing a rhetorical question that Galloway clearly isn’t going to answer. Paxman uses rhetorical questions to embarrass Galloway and to put him on the spot. ‘Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?’ This is a question that answers itself and is also difficult for Galloway to answer.
A feature of the way that Galloway speaks is his assertive tone, ‘… move onto your next question.’ Galloway is very commanding and wants to be in control of the interview. He also voices his opinion very clearly, ‘Oh well there’s no doubt about that that one.’ Forming his opinion in this manor eradicates any room for discussion on the given subject.
Another thing that features a few times throughout the interview is the deliberate reversal of pronouns. ‘… but wouldn’t you be better starting by congratulating me for one of the most sensational election results in modern history.’ This reversal of the pronouns is quite accentuated in this case and it is a continuation of the assertive tone, Galloway is taking control of the interview and the direction it is taking. Paxman then does the same thing later in the interview, ‘Absolutely, because you then went on to say…’ Paxman has reversed the pronoun again here but in this case it is not used to be assertive or to take control; it is used here to heap pressure upon Galloway. He heaps this pressure upon him by clearly showing a contradiction that Galloway has made.
Finally, another thing I noticed from the interview was the accusatory tone that Galloway uses at times. ‘You’re the one who is trying to badger me.’ This is when Galloway is uncomfortable with the way Paxman is conducting the interview and he is reduced to this rather childish, ‘He started it!’, tone.
Jamal: So yeah, I’ve been watching this erm, I’ve been watching this video on schizophrenia and er – See, I’m only doing this for, er, personal research.
Jack: Yeah sure, no, it’s not like you’re worried that you might have schizophrenia or anything.
Jamal: No, it’s not that type of personal research.
Jamal: It’s for, erm, book wise research.
Jack: Yeah, yeah, no, I totally believe you man.
Jamal: Yeah, I don’t have schizophrenia.
Jack: You sure now?
Jamal: I might have double personality disorder or er –
Jack: And, like, mild insanity.
Jamal: Sociopathicness possibly.
Jamal: I do not have, er, schizophrenia.
Jack: Yeah ok, yeah, you probably don’t have schizophrenia but you probably do have all manor of other things.
Jamal: Ok, I’m gonna, I’m gonna sh- I’m gonna tell you the list of, er, of things that you, like, schizophrenic people have. It’s just coming up in a minute… Three… Oh! There we go, loss of contact with reality. So that basically means that I, you know, hallucinating things, I’m forgetting things, I know not where I am, I’m in a different place.
Jack: Yeah I think –
Jamal: Psychotic symptoms.
Jack: Yeah, yeah, I think that matches you pretty well.
Jamal: Erm, Disor, er, blugh! Disorganized think and speech so, you know, slurred speech, I might say random words in random times for no apparent reason –
Jack: Oh my God, Elliott! GG.
Elliott: Ok, well yeah, ok. We should agree to a point where our transcripts match up at the starts.
Jack: No – We should – He said to do it at other times so we both have different ones.
Elliott: Fair enough. Which portals – Which test chambers are you gonna record then?
Jack: I don’t know, I don’t have that much time because I’ve got to do Spanish homework as well.
Elliott: Wow, wow, you got – you, you really – I’ve got, like, tonnes of English homework. I’ve not started yet but myah.
Jack: How have you got tonnes of English?
Jack: How have you got tonnes of English? You just have to transcribe stuff.
Elliott: Galloway and Paxman. I’ve not finished that yet.
Jack: Oh shit, I forgot about that.
Elliott: Yeah, we’ll keep that in, haha! Sorry.
Jack: Yes, we should keep that in.
Elliott: Right, skip this cut scene… Oh, you can’t skip it.
Jack: Oh, God damn it!
Elliott: Argh! Do Spanish in the morning. Just wake up earlier.
Jack: Oh, but that Spanish is long as well.
Elliott: I think I’m the, er, fat blue one. You’re the tall and skinny one.
Jack: Well, I hope so. I mean, orange tall and skinny, kind of, you know.
Elliott: Hey! I’m orange too! It just so happens I’m cyan in this. Actually, that’s kind of more suitable.
Jack: Yeah, I think blue fits you.
Elliott: It is a lot more suitable for me. I should dye my hair blue. Dye my hair a nice fluorescent blue.